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Va'etchananRead / Listen to Portion
Yeshua teaches that to love the LORD is the greatest commandment. If we attempt to serve God merely out of fear or out of a desire for reward or to earn salvation, our service is not genuine. Just as a husband wants his wife to love him, so too, the Father desires His children to serve Him out of love.
The Torah speaks in the future tense when it says, “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.” On a simple level, this means that one should endeavor to memorize the words of the Torah. On a deeper level, these words allude to the Messianic Era when God will write His Torah upon our hearts.
We should never congratulate ourselves as if we have already attained the goal. A person should always regard himself as a seeker of God. Even if we have found the way to God through the person of His Son, Yeshua, this is only the beginning of the quest, not the end.
Moses wanted to enter the promised land. More than anything, he wanted to finish the journey, cross the Jordan and stand on the soil of the holy land. Despite his earnest entreaties, God refused to allow Moses to enter Canaan. The LORD replied to his prayers, saying, "Enough! Speak to Me no more of this matter" (Deuteronomy 3:26).
However, a father cannot teach his child to honor him by demanding honor. Neither can a mother teach her child to honor her by demanding to be honored. Instead, we teach our children to honor us by honoring our own parents and by honoring our spouses.
In the Near East, it was once common for blood-covenant partners to exchange amulet-like pouches, which contained tokens, or even full copies, of their covenantal obligations to one another. Covenant partners wore the contract-amulets as bracelets or necklaces. The commandment of tefillin seems to be consistent with that ancient ritual, especially when one considers the rabbinic tradition that God Himself wears tefillin marked with the name of Israel just as Israel’s tefillin are marked with the name of God.
How do we express our love for God? The apostle John teaches us that we express love for God by keeping His commandments and by loving others (which is the second greatest commandment). He says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20).